"Another Look" - A further commentary on Chris Welch's book, "The Complete Guide To The Music Of Genesis". Review by Stephen Roche.
It was inevitable, that "The Complete Music of..." would catch up with Genesis. It is overdue however, especially considering this pocket book series has already covered comparative minnows as The Doors, REM and The Smiths. The book is written by former Melody Maker journalist Chris Welch, and follows the same format as all the previous works in the series; i.e. each chapter covering an official Genesis album. Each section containing an introductory paragraph outlining the band's situation at the time of a particular release, followed by a list of the songs with one or two paragraphs explaining the meaning and/or style of each.
The text contains comments from Tony Banks who reveals his favourite Genesis album to be "Invisible Touch". Welch offers a thoughtful commentary on all of the albums which displays his enthusiasm for the classics such as "The Musical Box" and "Supper's Ready" as well as the more recent material. Indeed he seems to be in love with the "Invisible Touch" album. Some of Welch's opinions are bound to annoy some fans, however, in particular his dislike for "The Lamb...". In general though, it is obvious he is a big fan of the group, and has set out to write an entertaining account of Genesis's music, wisely steering clear of po-faced analysis in favour of a more laid back, humorous approach.
To the committed fan, however, there will be irritation with this book. Mostly Welch's over emphasis on Phil Collins and his input at the expense of other band members [now, where have we heard that before? - AH.]. This bias is a particularly apparent in his discussion of the later material. To a new fan, Welch could give the impression that Collins almost single handedly wrote and performed every album from "Duke" onwards, only occasionally acknowledging the existence of Banks and Rutherford.
Welch attempts to redress the balance with his comments on the solo members' outputs. He describes Mike as the "unsung hero" of Genesis and then goes on to give unstinting praise for both his solo albums and for all of the Mechanics offerings, somewhat overstating his case in the process. Welch goes to the others extreme with Tony's work, however, unfairly labelling "The Fugitive" as "feeble" and "not an album worth persevering with" [we must remember here that this is the same man who slated Jethro Tull's "A Passion Play" album back in the mid 1970's - AH.]. He also completely ignores "Still", arguably Tony's best album to date.
This book will not dazzle older fans, but then it is not aimed at them. It does however serve its purpose as an introduction to the music, or a buyer's guide, as the cover says, well it is also probably the most entertaining volume in the whole series and therefore worth checking out by anyone interested in the music of Genesis.
Thanks for your views Stephen, I may now be persuaded to buy it myself! - AH.